2020 NFL schedule: 10 can’t-miss games

Not since the days of creamsicle uniforms have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers been such a must-see.

Tom Brady changing teams headlined the craziest offseason of player movement in NFL history and completely changed the lens through which the coming season is viewed. All the matchups have been known since the minute the 2019 regular season ended, but each team’s 16-game schedule was announced Thursday.

Here are 10 highly anticipated games, assuming the coronavirus restrictions don’t force any schedule changes:

Saints at Raiders, Week 2: Raiders owner Mark Davis bought the LasVegasRaiders.com domain name in 1998, hinting 22 years early at the move from Oakland. Construction on $2 billion Allegiant Stadium continues through the coronavirus pandemic. Camera shots of the atmosphere in the stands and streets could be better than the game.

Browns at Giants, Week 15: One playoff appearance between the teams in the last eight seasons won’t stop unmatched pregame hype. That’s the star power of Odell Beckham Jr., who facing his former team for the first time will be out for the kill because he said Giants GM Dave Gettleman traded him to small-market Cleveland “to die.” If only Eli Manning still were playing.

Chiefs at Buccaneers, Week 12: Unofficial changing of the guard as Patrick Mahomes faces Tom Brady (probably) for the final time, unless they meet in a Super Bowl. Brady holds the 2-1 head-to-head advantage including playoffs, but Mahomes enters this one as the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

Packers at 49ers, Week 9: Rematch of last year’s NFC Championship, one of two blowout home wins for the 49ers in this series last season. This game should figure heavily into NFC playoff seeding again. Aaron Rodgers has limited opportunities to win a second Super Bowl. Jimmy Garoppolo needs to justify his $26.6 million cap figure.

Buccaneers at Saints, Week 1: One of the perks of Brady relocating to the NFC South is it means two games per year against Drew Brees. Brees and Brady rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in career passing yards and touchdowns — and the touchdowns record could change hands every week during the season. It’s that close.

Chiefs at Ravens, Week 3: The two most recent MVPs meet for the second time. Mahomes versus Lamar Jackson could be this decade’s answer to a Peyton Manning versus Brady cross-division rivalry. The Ravens blew home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs and the Chiefs capitalized last season, but their defense could be the toughest Mahomes sees.

Colts at Steelers, Week 16: Contenders or pretenders? Depends on the quarterbacks. This is Year 17 for both Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. The Colts hope Rivers’ unceremonious exit from the Chargers ignites a fire, and the Steelers are counting on Roethlisberger returning from missing nearly a full season.

Bengals at Dolphins, Week 13: Potential look at two different approaches to rookie quarterbacks. The Bengals could start No. 1 pick Joe Burrow from Week 1. The Dolphins will ease in No. 5 pick Tua Tagovailoa as he recovers from lingering injuries. A new rivalry for LSU-Alabama fans to fight over.

Patriots at Bills, Week 8: The Bills have gone to the playoffs twice in three years following a 17-year drought. After acquiring Stefon Diggs and other big moves, they appear ready to take the next step and end the Patriots’ run of 11 consecutive AFC East titles. The Patriots have bullied the Bills on their home field, winning 15 of the last 16.

Eagles at Cowboys, Week 16: The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat champion since 2004. These are the division’s two best teams again. The Eagles’ Doug Pederson is the division’s only returning coach, but the Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy can match his Super Bowl ring.

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